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Senior Armenian Traffic Cop Arrested


Armenia - Car traffic in Yerevan, 2 February 2018.

A deputy chief of the Armenian traffic police was arrested on corruption charges on Thursday.

The Special Investigative Service (SIS) said Colonel Artur Tonoyan abused his powers to give privileged treatment to a private company supplying license plates for cars in Armenia. It claimed that he tried to illegally prevent another company from providing the same services to the traffic police at a lower cost.

An SIS statement said that Tonoyan has been has been charged with two counts of abuse of power. If convicted, he could face between three and eight years in prison.

The law-enforcement body did not give further details of the accusations. “The investigation is continuing,” it said.

It was not immediately clear whether or not Tonoyan will plead guilty to the accusations. The officer has for years been in charge of car registration by the traffic police.

Corruption among traffic police officers was commonplace at least until last year’s “Velvet Revolution” in Armenia. Valeri Osipian, who was appointed as chief of the national police service right after the revolution, repeatedly claimed to have essentially eliminated corruption in the police ranks. Osipian was sacked in September for still unclear reasons.

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